NBA Mock Draft 2008: Early Predictions

David ChuCorrespondent IMay 20, 2008

The lottery results are in, folks, and Chicago is the big winner in this draft, moving up from the No. 9 projected pick to the No. 1 pick.

The losers in the lottery? Well, pretty much everyone that moved down a spot, but the biggest loser clearly had to be the Seattle (or Oklahoma City) Sonics. They moved down from No. 2 projected to the No. 4 spot.

But don't be discouraged, Sonics fans; this draft is very deep in talent and, although there is a difference from the top-two picks and the other 12, I think that every lottery team in this year's draft will come away with a very good player.

Early predictions for the top-10 picks in the 2008 NBA Draft:

1. Chicago - This is by far the toughest decision in this year's draft. Both Derrick Rose and Michael Beasley are two really great players.

I think this pick might actually dictate what Chicago does with Ben Gordon and Luol Deng. If the Bulls pick Derrick Rose, look for them to give Luol Deng the money he wants and deserves. But if Chicago goes with Michael Beasley, look for Chicago to resign Ben Gordon and maybe let go of Deng, since they already have Tyrus Thomas at the forward spot, as well.

My guess is that Chicago is going to go with Derrick Rose. Derrick Rose is from the Chicago area and has that Chicago kid toughness, like Dwyane Wade. Especially after sitting at home and watching Deron Williams and Chris Paul lead their teams into the playoffs with great performances, Chicago would be hardpressed not to pick the hometown kid.

With the No. 1 pick, the Chicago Bulls select Derrick Rose.

2. Miami - The Miami Heat are in the same position as the Seattle Supersonics were in last year. Depending on what the No. 1 team does, they will take the "other" guy. And that other guy this year is Michael Beasley.

Michael Beasley will give them easily 15-to-20-plus points per game with about 7-to-9 rebounds a game. The guy can play. Is he a three or a four? Doesn't really matter. Put him anywhere and he's going to give you production. Apparently there are some character issues with him, but with Dwyane Wade there along with Shawn Marion to be his mentor, I don't think there will be any problems with that. Just like Derrick Rose, Michael Beasley will be a star in this league and potentially the Rookie of the Year.

With the No. 2 pick, the Miami Heat select Michael Beasley.

3. Minnesota - Minnesota is in an interesting position here. Where do they go? Do they go big or small? The T'wolves are stacked with a lot of potential filled players, but that's just potential.

I think they need more than potential; they need someone who can come in and produce right away. I think Brook Lopez can be that guy. He's 7'0" with decent mobility, and he's able to bang. He's still very raw in my estimation, and still has a lot of potential—more than his brother, at least. They could probably start him right away and expect 10-to-12 points a game with about 8-to-9 rebounds and maybe a block or two. This pick would just fill a void that they have at the center spot and will be a good building block.

With the No. 3 pick, the Minnesota Timberwolves select Brook Lopez.

4. Seattle - Finally, Sonics fans, your time has come. Although the potential to have either Derrick Rose or Michael Beasley is gone, not to worry: There are still plenty of capable players left in this draft.

The Sonics have plenty of holes on their team, from their big man woes to even their guard woes. I'm thinking guard for these guys. It's a tossup between O.J. Mayo and Jerryd Bayless right now. With Bayless, they get a guy who could possibly be a point guard in the NBA, while with Mayo, they get a guy who will most likely play the two in the NBA.

But I gotta go with Bayless. He is a guy in college that scored at will and distributed the ball pretty well. He turn the ball over a bit too much; he's got to get better at that. He reminds me of when Jay Williams (from Duke) came into the league: He's very explosive, can shoot from almost anywhere, and has that ability to get into the lane at will. This is a great pick for the Sonics.

With the No. 4 pick, the Seattle Supersonics select Jerryd Bayless.

5. Memphis - Memphis picked Michael Conley in last year's draft, and I don't think they've lost faith in him just yet. It was only his rookie year last year, coming into the draft as a freshman, so they're going to give him some time to develop.

So, having said that, that should eliminate them from going for any point guards in this draft. I don't know, this was a tough pick for me, but I think they either need a shooting guard or a big man. There aren't really too many big men that should be considered being picked this high beside maybe DeAndre Jordan. O.J. Mayo might also be a good pick, maybe even Eric Gordon. But overall, it came down to needs for this team, and this team needs a big man after losing Pau Gasol and getting almost nothing in return.

I chose to go with Jordan from Texas A&M. Jordan has a ton of potential. I think, of all the prospects this year, if Jordan puts in the work, he has the potential to become the BEST prospect out of this year's draft. Yeah, that's how much potential he has. He looks like a young Dwight Howard, although not as physically developed. He is very explosive and runs the floor extremely well for a big man.

With the No. 5 pick, the Memphis Grizzlies select DeAndre Jordan.

6. New York - Yes, fellow Knick fans! Our time has come; although our wishes weren't granted with the Derrick Rose-Michael Beasley sweepstakes, we're in a pretty good position right now with No. 6.

With a new coach in Mike D'Antoni and a new man making decisions in Donnie Walsh, this year's draft pick is very important to these two in how they want to build this franchise.

I don't think O.J. Mayo is going to be a good fit for the Knicks, and I think Eric Gordon might be a better fit. When you look at the Knicks roster, on paper they look pretty decent. There's no really big glaring hole on their roster, but, nonetheless, they all need improvements. After thinking through, I felt like Eric Gordon was a better fit than Mayo. Sure, Mayo is ready for the New York pressure, but I feel like Eric Gordon's character and team-play ability is too hard to pass up. He looks like a better version of Ben Gordon and might turn into a Ray Allen type of guy, too.

With the No. 6 pick, the New York Knicks select Eric Gordon.

7. L.A. Clippers - The Clippers are in familiar territory, back in the lottery. Although this time, I feel like they're going to come away with a really good player. And, without any discussion, this player will be O.J. Mayo.

Mayo already knows how to play in big competition and played in the local Los Angeles area, so settling down there won't be a problem. He will give the Clippers a dynamic scorer and maybe (just maybe) might turn into a pretty good passer; who knows. He is athletic and very strong when he drives to the basket. My guess is that he will start at the two-spot for the Clips and average around 15-to-18 points per game, or maybe even more, with about 4-to-5 assists per game. In college, turnovers were a really bad part of his game. Sometimes he would forget about the team aspect of playing and would try to take the whole other team by himself. But, nonetheless, this is a very good fit and pick for the Clippers.

With the No. 7 pick, the L.A. Clippers select O.J. Mayo.

8. Milwaukee - Also in familiar territory are the Milwaukee Bucks. I don't think they need any guards because they're pretty set with the point guard and shooting guard position. They do need a big man and maybe even a wing player, depending on where they put Yi Jialian.

I like Anthony Randolph from LSU. He is 6'10", very long and athletic—sort of like Lamar Odom and Chris Bosh. If he could turn into either one of those players, the Bucks are obviously winners. I think the ability for Randolph to be able to play both forward positions is favorable to him, but he definitely needs to add a lot of weight; he actually looks like Chris Bosh when he first came into this league. It is going to take a couple of years before the Bucks reap the rewards with this kid, but I think that the wait will be very well worth it.

With the No. 8 pick, the Milwaukee Bucks select Anthony Randolph.

9. Charlotte - The Bobcats are a pretty good team, I think; they just need more experience as a whole before they move on to the next level. I think they need another power forward, or maybe even a center.

Larry Brown is their new coach and Larry loves defensive guys, but Michael Jordan loves players like Kevin Love. Love will give them solid play at the four position, and I've seen him work out recently: He's slimmed down a lot and will surprise some people with his athleticism. He wasn't able to show his whole set of skills at UCLA because of the system he plays in, but those skills will be able to be shown in the NBA because it is a much faster pace which plays into his skills. A big-man who can step out and hit that 15-foot jumper is very hard to find, and Kevin Love can be that guy. He is also a great passer, so they can run that pick-and-roll with him, as well. I really like this pick for the Bobcats, I think that Love can step in and play right away.

With the No. 9 pick, the Charlotte Bobcats select, Kevin Love.

10. New Jersey - It was pretty funny seeing Jay-Z at the lottery special, but anyway the Nets are in pretty good position here. They clearly need a big man; they've been wanting a big man for the longest time. They have Richard Jefferson at the three, Vince Carter at the two, and Devin Harris at the one. That's pretty good, if you ask me. And, oh, they have a surprise guy in Sean Williams at the four or five position from last year's draft.

But, having said that, I think they are going to be hard-pressed not to go with Danilo Gallinari. He is an Italian prospect listed at 6'10". It is said that he is much better than Andrea Bargnani of Toronto right now and will only continue to get better. He can shoot the 3, drive to the hole, or pull up for that mid-range jumper. He does look very skinny, so he will have to develop strength in that area. He looks like he has some potential. Although I wouldn't draft him this high, I think that the Nets won't be able to pass up on that potential.

With the No. 10 pick, the New Jersey Nets select Danilo Gallinari.

How did I do, guys? Well, this is just a temporary mock draft, I hope. As I keep examining players and the team's situations, this mock draft will most likely change in a few weeks. As always, comments are always welcome, whether good or bad. Thanks!


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